Clemson’s Justyn Ross thinks some players will leave the NCAA for the XFL

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Justyn Ross was one of the best players on the field in the College Football Championship Game, catching six passes for 153 yards to help Clemson defeat Alabama. Ross is an elite talent, good enough that he could play in the NFL right now.

Unfortunately for Ross, he’s a true freshman. Like his teammate, freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence, he’s stuck in college because of the NFL rule requiring players to be three years out of high school before they can play in the NFL.

But Ross might only be stuck for one more year, not two. That’s because the XFL, which will launch next year, has already said it will take players who are less than three years out of high school. Ross and Lawrence would be obvious targets for the XFL, and although Ross told Bleacher Report that he has a good support system in place and a mom who wants him to get a college degree, he thinks other players will see the XFL as a better option than the NCAA.

“If [the XFL] is offering that kind of money, that’s hard for an 18- or 19-year-old to turn down,” Ross says. “If you really need that money, oh yeah, go do that. Something could happen. You can get hurt. Anything can happen. You have to take care of yourself because it can be over just like that.”

A player like Lawrence, who’s the early favorite to be the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, is unlikely to consider the XFL. The money he could make by playing in the XFL in 2020 is minuscule compared to what the NFL will be offering him a year later. And Ross sounds like he’s likely to wait for the NFL as well. But if the XFL can convince even a few highly talented freshmen and sophomores to leave their NCAA eligibility behind and play in a new professional football league, it will be a good way for the XFL to recruit talent and generate attention — and a good way for players to turn pro when their only other option is remaining amateurs.

50 responses to “Clemson’s Justyn Ross thinks some players will leave the NCAA for the XFL

  1. And now the dopes who thought the AAF’s hairbrained 11 month business plan was a good idea are starting to see what a REAL business plan looks like. A league of players that have untapped potential, not a league of old failures. Ebersol and Polian are a pair of clowns.

  2. Anybody doing that better hope the XFL lasts longer than the AAF did. It’d be sad if guys lost their college eligibility playing a handful of games for a league that promptly goes under.

  3. Hmmmm…. After seeing the AFF go the way of the dinosaurs, you’re going to tell me that players who hope to go to the NFL will leave college to play in the XFL?
    Not very smart idea, if you ask me.

  4. Good luck with that idea. A few players have done it in basketball and the NBA did not draft them high and their careers have not gone well

  5. I wonder why there is such a monopoly on pro football. The XFL failed due to a bad product on the field. The AAF had a good product but failed due to bad business. How will the XFL reboot overcome these issues.

  6. There will be a market in the XFL for talented NCAA players that are less than 3 years out of high school who have lost their eligibility (academic or conduct), who want to transfer from their school but don’t want to sit out a year and those that go for the immediate $. If guys go for the $, do well in the XFL and then sign with an NFL team – others will forgo the NCAA and follow this route. Ultimately, if players begin to forgo the NCAA – THIS is when the NCAA will have to start paying the players they make so much money on…

  7. Wether the league or this idea of of letting college kids come play before the are eligible to go to the NFL is a way better strategy then to go beg the NFL for the rights to practice squad players who most ppl have never heard of. U can not try and start up a league to be the same version of the existing league and being a totally watered down version of the sport without total backing of said sport to become its minor leagues and then be affiliated with the parent league like the NBA has down with its G League.

    If ur trying to start up a brand new league u have to be different and go against the grain. There is a lot of conversation about wether college kids should be getting paid or not and I think it’s going to take something like the XFL to start taking away college kids little by little and year after year for the NCAA to start losing some high profile kids that will really jump start the NCAA to start compensating student athletes.

  8. With the way the nfl draft is slotted now and the fact the nfl has 5yr contracts for first rd picks. Maybe the XFL can offer a competitive first contract

  9. arwiv says:
    April 4, 2019 at 9:54 am
    Yeah, as long as the XFL doesnt wind up folding in a year or two.
    ____________________________________

    Latest reports I’ve seen are that Vince McMahon has put down enough money to keep the league afloat for at least 3 years, and recently he did do a deal where he sold over 270 million dollars worth of WWE stock to put mostly into the XFL. If it ends up folding this time around it won’t be for lack of financial backing.

  10. The NFL is a 21 or older league. College football is their farm system… for free! And why would NFL give up on that. I still think we need a farm system AFTER the draft so those undrafted players can still play and keep in game condition until they get another shot at the big league. A 21 plus developmental league is a good thing as long as it finds a way to sustain it financially.

  11. Because CFB players always make the right decisions…not!
    College players cannot have it both ways. They want to leave early for the NFL, but if they do and their bodies/minds aren’t ready and they get hurt or cut, I can see them trying to sue the NFL for allowing them to leave early.
    College players cannot sue to leave early AND then be able to sue the NFL because they (players) got what they wanted (ability to leave early for the NFL).

  12. “And now the dopes who thought the AAF’s hairbrained 11 month business plan was a good idea are starting to see what a REAL business plan looks like. A league of players that have untapped potential, not a league of old failures.”
    __________________

    How is that plan significantly different? You’re still talking about largely unknown players that won’t be drawing many fans based on name recognition. The “failures” were recently good enough to play in the NFL or on the cusp of being that good. These “untapped potential” guys are inexperienced and most will never be NFL quality. They’re going to look roughly the same on the field–potentially worse in many cases due to their lack of experience.

  13. This all sounds great in theory, but seriously, how are NFL scouts going to ultimately view a former college athlete in the a new league against an unknown level of competition?
    Especially at a crucial time when their bodies are still developing athletically.

    Are they putting themselves at risk for serious injury against bigger, stronger and more developed athletes?
    Especially when you consider the individual that runs this league, who’s track record is quite poor with how his stars have ended up in life?

    Are short term gains really worth it?
    Could they be costing themselves in the long run by not showing their capabilities in the traditional college format?

  14. You’re implying that there is an increased injury risk for XFL players compared to NCAA players. It’s the same sport. It’s the same game. How does the XFL introduce additional injury risk?

  15. I dont see why it wouldn’t be appealing to some to go to the XFL.
    Now, I certainly don’t think a top flight QB that is a certain 1st round pick, a highly rated defensive player with a sure future in the NFL, anyone like that will take that chance.

    BUT

    If you are a borderline player, someone that doesnt think you have a big future in the NFL, you’re going to be a late draft pick or maybe an undrafted free agent, why not go get some money? Especially if the XFL ends up being of decent quality. If you are a good player, but you are at one of these football factory schools, you were a 4 star/5 star guy but buried behind other 5 star guys on the depth chart, why not get money, get playing time and get tape for the NFL to see. For a guy like that playing in the XFL is better than riding the bench in college.

  16. bobsacamano2 says:
    April 4, 2019 at 10:09 am
    I wonder why there is such a monopoly on pro football. The XFL failed due to a bad product on the field. The AAF had a good product but failed due to bad business. How will the XFL reboot overcome these issues.
    ——————

    It won’t. People aren’t willing to put much effort into watching substandard football.

  17. The measuring stick is and always will be the NFL. Anit-trust exemption pretty much guarantees it. USFL signed star players for large amounts of money but some idiot wanted to change their schedule to compete directly with NFL (and to a lesser degree NCAA). Somebody mentioned McMahon got $278M for the league. NFL salary cap is $188M PER TEAM! Some elite players will certainly make the jump if offered. Good for them but I don’t see XFL cyphoning away large numbers of elite players.
    The flip side could be NCAA begins to pay players so that they will continue to earn $$$ for the schools.

  18. I think a five year pro league is the answer. You can play in this league 5 years, no more. Once eligible for the NFL, you can declare for the draft. Then decide to sign or go back to the five year league.
    There would be a very low salary cap as far as cash each team could pay to its players.
    But what if this five year league allowed teams to offer college scholarships at a particular school as a form of payment, as well as a check. Played the game at college stadiums….. Named the teams after the colleges.

    Essentially turn the power 5 conferences into a paid minor league system.

  19. packers291 says: April 4, 2019 at 10:49 am
    You’re implying that there is an increased injury risk for XFL players compared to NCAA players. It’s the same sport. It’s the same game. How does the XFL introduce additional injury risk?
    ============================

    Pro players are much bigger and stronger than 18-19 year olds

  20. The NCAA has a built-in audience in millions of alumni students that hypes up its stars. In the XFL, you’ll be lucky to draw 5,000 fans to the games. A “star” going to the XFL will be quickly forgotten and have zero exposure.

  21. The biggest untapped market in sports is the 3 years between HS and the NFL. The XFL has a far greater chance at success if it competes against the NCAA than if it tries to compete against the NFL. If they started getting highly ranked recruits the product on the field would be better than College Football simply because there are less teams. Sign recruits for 4 years with an out clause after year 3 if they are drafted to the NFL. Undrafted players can then sign their 2nd XFL contract. It could work if they do it right.

  22. If (and it is a big if) the league succeeds for 5 or more years you might start to see it. College isn’t paying in peanuts either, hate to break this to you. And those not being paid in college aren’t going to be good enough. After just what happened in the AAF no agent will steer his players to the XFL. Yea agents talk to players before they declare

  23. I’d even make a case to say that it’s easier to get injured in the NCAAF than it is in the NFL. Why? It’s because the NFL has changed the game so much over the last 20 years. If the defender is a second too late sacking the quarterback, it’s a 15-yard penalty. If the defensive back touches the receivers’ hands five yards beyond the line of scrimmage, it’s another penalty. Players are bigger, stronger, and faster in the NFL and yet, the rules make the players seem weaker these days. Some are afraid to get too close to the quarterback after the ball has been thrown.

  24. Please take a business class or two before making the choice to leave college for the XFL. No league has been able to stand toe-to-toe with the NFL, so why would anyone think that XFL 2.0 will fair any better? Stay in school (for at least 3 years, get some knowledge, go pro (if that’s an option), and get your degree in the off-season.

  25. James Jackson says:
    April 4, 2019 at 12:02 pm
    Maurice Clarett, cautionary tale.

    —————

    What about the first player to challenge the 4 year rule in Barry Sanders?

  26. The XFL won’t have the issues the AAF had because they were smart enough to secure the startup money first instead of basically surviving on Pay Day Loans like the AAF just to get it off the ground as quickly as possible. I bet the NCAA is jumping for joy at the idea that the “amateur athletes should get paid” kids will weed themselves out since the NFL won’t be changing their 3 year rule anytime soon and the NCAA will still be the main recruiting platform for them so these kids will have to test their math skills as whether they want to just go to the XFL and make ok money then retire with nothing or stay in school, maybe get a degree on top of making way more in the NFL.

  27. “he money he could make by playing in the XFL in 2020 is minuscule compared to what the NFL will be offering him a year later.”
    ____________________

    This is a dumb statement. XFL could easily give these kids a one year deal or two years depending on when they would be eligible to join the NFL. So who would play 1 year for free in Clemson when they could get a 6 or 7 figure one year deal in the XFL? Throw in the ability to sign endorsement deals as well and it is a slam dunk that these kids will go to where the $ is!

  28. starks3 says:
    April 4, 2019 at 12:52 pm
    “he money he could make by playing in the XFL in 2020 is minuscule compared to what the NFL will be offering him a year later.”
    ____________________

    This is a dumb statement. XFL could easily give these kids a one year deal or two years depending on when they would be eligible to join the NFL. So who would play 1 year for free in Clemson when they could get a 6 or 7 figure one year deal in the XFL? Throw in the ability to sign endorsement deals as well and it is a slam dunk that these kids will go to where the $ is!

    —————

    You think they are playing for free at Clemson and Bama? No I am not talking about the education they get.

  29. I probably won’t ever watch the XFL but with allowing the truly pro-ready kids to play short of 3 years out of HS, I will, at least, be rooting for Vince McMahon for the first time in my life. I think it is absurd that our legal system has allowed the NCAA to get away with not paying Division 1 football and men’s basketball players while the TV contracts to broadcast their games and ticket prices to attend keep escalating every year it seems and college coaches are making ridiculous salaries for coaching so called “amateur” sports.

  30. How much did AAF pay Kurt Warner and other former stars? Ya it was nice to see them but that couldn’t have been good on the ol pocket book

  31. Owners will expand practice squads to 12 or 15 in the next cba and it will be biz as usual. These guys still succumb to peer pressure. When all your friends are in the NFL and you have a choice, you are gonna choose NFL 999/1000

  32. It really depends on what the XFL would be willing to pay for top talent. The USFL in the 1980’s got Herschel Walker, Doug Flutie, Jim Kelly, Reggie White, Steve Young as well Cleveland Browns QB Brian Sipe because they were competitive as far as money.

    The problem was a lot of the owners ran out money. The next problem was changing course to directly compete with the NFL & college in the fall. The USFL actually beat the NFL in court but was awarded only $1. The XFL could be viable for good college players who don’t want to wait 2 to 3 years to get paid.

  33. The keystone is that no league can be successful without the full support on the NFL (and consequently the NCAA).

    The NFL hold a monopoly on the the talent and reigns over the talent pool that comes from the NCAA – The NFL and NCAA have a free farm system with that can be run their way, with only some deviations.

    The NFL and NCAA both want this system to be preserved.

  34. kayakattack says:
    April 4, 2019 at 2:24 pm
    The keystone is that no league can be successful without the full support on the NFL (and consequently the NCAA).

    The NFL hold a monopoly on the the talent and reigns over the talent pool that comes from the NCAA – The NFL and NCAA have a free farm system with that can be run their way, with only some deviations.

    The NFL and NCAA both want this system to be preserved.
    _________________________________________________________________________
    It isn’t a monopoly, otherwise this very article would not merit a discussion. A college player is not obligated to going to the NFL. The money is what would obligate a college player to the NFL. A player can go to the arena league or XFL or any other pro league except I think Canada has some agreement with the NFL.

  35. How many players get drafted each year from the XFL??? Zero. Doubt anybody goes that route if you’re serious about wanting to play football for a living.

  36. In an email sent to various NFL agents introducing the XFL, Commissioner Oliver Luck writes that “[e]xceptional players can earn more than $200,000 per season.” Luck adds that the length of the contract “may vary from player to player.”
    https://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2018/08/24/in-xfl-exceptional-players-can-earn-more-than-200000-per-season/

    One thing i learned is dont count out vince. Usfl did it with hershel. Also note, if a ncaa player signed XFL, is he still eligible for the nfl’s AMATEUR draft? XFL will change the NFL

  37. “USFL signed star players for large amounts of money but some idiot wanted to change their schedule to compete directly with NFL”

    Man, that guy sounds like an absolutely incompetent clown, I hope he never gets put in charge of anything important

  38. Well, if the XFL takes the same laissez-faire attitude to PEDs that WWE does, they will only catch the couple that are really over the top dumb enough to get caught. We may seem some really large, amped up players in the XFL.

  39. The USFL was a success… when they didn’t try to directly compete with the NFL.

    As soon as they ( Basically Donald Trump ) wanted to compete ( and ultimately force a merger) with the NFL did it fail.

    We have enough Football in the Fall… there is t anybody who needs to consume more…

    We have High School on Fridays, College on Saturdays, NFL on Sunday, Monday and Thursday..

    The ONLY way to compete for eyes ( of which I believe is a failed idea from jump ) is to offer a product that is vastly different from the NFL game…

    It’s going to be an extreme longshot for the XFL to make it.

  40. He made Bama’s DBs look like little boys (and I’m a Bama fan). If he stays healthy and keeps his head on straight, the sky’s the limit for him.

  41. If the XFL is ultimately successful and recruits start bypassing college to join it, it’s going to be interesting to see if the NCAA decides to pay their athletes or maybe even the NFL following suit and eliminating the 3 years removed from high school rule.

  42. If you’re a self-aware back-up player in college why can’t they play in the XFL for 100k a year during the XFL season and then go to school in their offseason to get their degree? It’s not XFL or College degree, it’s getting paid to play football vs playing for free, the risk to the body will be very comparable.

    Many college teams are not on TV every week, while the XFL will most likely broadcast all games so getting some game tape is also a benefit to those that are seen as backups by others, but believe they can be more if given the chance.

    Also, what if you don’t want to spend your late teens/twenties in classrooms or dormrooms studying things you don’t care about? Now those kids can do what they love, play football, and do whatever else they want to do in their spare time, including second jobs, trade schools, and marketing their brand (endorsements).

  43. Playing in the XFL for pay would eliminate any amateur eligibility in the NCAA per NCAA rules. Not saying it is right or wrong, but that’s just how it is.

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